On 8th May 1907 Adriatic sailed from Liverpool for New York, on her maiden voyage. Captained by E.J. Smith, among the passengers aboard was the company chairman, J. Bruce Ismay. Adriatic was the largest of the group of ships known as the ‘Big Four’, with bigger engines and an extra four boilers to give her a better service speed. By the time she left Queenstown, she had 2,502 passengers aboard, as well as a large cargo. She arrived in New York on 16th May, having taken 7 days 1 hour 45 minutes for a crossing that had encountered very bad weather.
Adriatic had been built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as Yard Number 358. Launched on 20th September 1906, once completed she could carry 425 in First Class, 500 in Second Class and 1,900 in Steerage. She was handed over on 25th April 1907. The Big Four were very distinctive, with two tall, thin funnels and four masts. Noticeably different to the others in the group, she had an extra pair of derricks on the foredeck and an additional deckhouse between the mizzen and jigger masts. She was unusual in that she had a swimming pool, although it was quite small and narrow and was called a ‘plunge bath’, and also had a Turkish bath.